December 9, 2021
Reflections, Day 59
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
― Lewis Carroll
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll
I can still picture the cover of the book.
It was a line drawing of a girl with long, windblown hair
In some strange surroundings.
I remember being excited about entering the first grade, because I had been told that’s where I would learn to read. I could already look at the pictures and tell what Dick and Jane were doing, but learning to read had been frustrating for me.
But my teacher used a “word recognition” method and I just couldn’t quite understand. I mean, what if I memorized all of the words on the flash cards and then saw a strange word? It just wasn’t working. We know now that “word recognition” is a flawed method.
But I was fortunate. My mother’s younger brother was working on an education degree and learning new methods of teaching. He told my mother that I would never be a good reader unless she taught me “phonics.” Mom, of course, was dedicated to my education and I can remember her sitting with me for hours, helping me to sound out the words on the page. I was a lucky boy.
And it worked. By the time I was in the third grade, I read everything that I could get my hands on. I read the cereal box at breakfast, I read the road signs, the signs on stores, and lots of books. When I was 8, I got a Schwinn bicycle for Christmas. Looking back, I don’t know how my parents found the money to buy it. I learned to ride, and then I was allowed to ride up Steele Street to the small library in our small town.
Somewhere in there, I was given two books—Alice in Wonderland, and Through The Looking Glass. I honestly tried to read them but I remember thinking, “This is crazy stuff.”
But, as we grow older, our points of view change. When I was an adult, I thought perhaps I would try Alice again. I loved it. I still enjoy the crazy, whimsical words of Lewis Carrol.